LSR, JMC girls say #speakup, it’s high time
What do college students usually talk about? “My friends and I started talking about our personal experiences, in college — how most of us have been stalked, harassed in real life and on social media, been victims of sexist jokes, slander, and moral policing, in institutional spaces as well as among family and peers from a very early age, and how it was all normalised,” says Devanshi Ranjan, a final year student of Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi University (DU), adding, “The infamous #MeToo and #BoisLockerRoom brought to surface my pent up feelings. People question the #metoo movement, ‘Why didn’t these women speak up before?’ I have faced backlash first hand. It made me itch, I wanted to speak and this project gave me that space.”
“To question, engage and find answers”, Ranjan founded Project MicDrop, along with her two friends Diya Joseph and Gayatri Ahuja, who are now students of Jesus & Mary College, DU.
Joseph shares that the journey so far has been enlightening, and explains that “This project is a catalyst through which I share space with a team of diverse, passionate people. We voice our opinions and advocate for issues that need attention... Given my all-girls educational background at school and college, I’ve always been vocal about the feminist discourse and issues that impact certain communities in our society. My school was a safe bubble, and it was in college that I realised how lucky and privileged I’ve been. I started empathising with people who went through hard times for asserting their identities and position in the society. Being acquainted with like-minded people, I realised that there are various social barriers that act as an impediment to the growth of individuals.”
Ahuja opines, “I grew up as a quiet child. From a suffocating school experience to a liberating all girls college, I finally found a safe space to verbalise my views. And this project provided that platform, to advocate my rights while making an impact at the grassroots level. I hope this project expands and empowers others as well, to stand up for themselves.”
The project that kicked off in July, amid the pandemic, has more than 100 contributors today, from different walks of life. The young trio has put together a team of 50 members, which has been organising significant events including an online campaign on the theme ‘If I were not a Man’, and a webinar that highlighted gender disparity at workplaces especially in the media industry. Ranjan recalls, “We’ve had a lot of events, but interacting with Asha Devi Pandey, on 16 December 2012 Delhi gang rape case, was a life-changing opportunity for me, and it motivates me every day, to get up and get to work.”